- Series: 9marks: Building Healthy Churches (Book 4)
- Hardcover: 144 pages
- Publisher: Crossway (April 30, 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1433540878
- ISBN-13: 978-1433540875
- Product Dimensions: 5 x 0.5 x 7 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 81 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,468 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Church Elders: How to Shepherd God's People Like Jesus (9marks: Building Healthy Churches) Hardcover – April 30, 2014
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“Leadership, like the other gifts of the Spirit, is for the edifying of the body of Christ. Paul made it plain to Titus that things were not in order in a church until proper leadership was established. Most unsolved problems in church life can be traced back to defective leadership. Jeramie Rinne unpacks what the Bible has to say about the identity and activity of the local church elder with a freshness and clarity that is profoundly helpful. This is a book that elders can read together to their profit and one that will help a congregation to pray for and support its leaders so that their work will be a joy and not a burden.”
—Alistair Begg, Senior Pastor, Parkside Church, Chagrin Falls, Ohio
“Jeramie Rinne proves it’s possible to write both comprehensively and concisely about the office and ministry of church elders. And what a valuable book this is! I found it not simply informative but devotional, helpful to me as a pastor in my love for Jesus and, by extension, his church. I am hard-pressed to think of another book on this subject that is so readily shareable.”
—Jared C. Wilson, Director of Content Strategy, Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary; Director, Pastoral Training Center, Liberty Baptist Church, Kansas City, Missouri; author, Supernatural Power for Everyday People
“Do you long to see a growing, godly group of mature men in your church who work alongside the full-time pastors to shepherd, teach, and train the congregation for disciple-making? Biblically sharp, wise and, warmly written, this little book is about the essentially collegial nature of church ministry and leadership. Regardless of your view as to how "elders" should be appointed, organized, or named, you will find much here to challenge, encourage, and guide.”
—Tony Payne, Publishing Director, Matthias Media; coauthor, The Trellis and the Vine
About the Author
Jeramie Rinne (MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) serves as the senior pastor of Evangelical Community Church in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. He has been a regular contributor to the 9Marks Journal, a devotional writer for the Good Book Company, and an instructor for the Simeon Trust Workshops on biblical exposition. He lives in Abu Dhabi with his wife, Jennifer, and their four children.
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It must be anchored to the Bible.
It must be guided by unshakeable convictions.
It must be based on God's blueprint - for he has an order for his church.
It must be intensely spiritual.
Church Elders by Jeramie Rinne another fine selection in the 9 Marks Series, edited by Mark Dever. Rinne begins with some basic presuppositions which are designed to guide prospective elders down a path that is both biblical and practical.
The author outlines the qualifications for the office of elder as set forth in 1 Timothy 3, Titus 1, and 1 Peter 5. The discussion is elementary but is nonetheless very helpful. In addition, the terms for elder are surveyed (pastor, elder, overseer, and bishop). There can be no misunderstanding that the terms are synonymous, a feature that seems to be misunderstood by many people.
Elders are called to shepherd the flock. Therefore, they are called to:
Engage in relationships with the flock.
Minister with the intent of growing the flock in Christian maturity.
Readers should not be surprised that elders should participate in the teaching ministry of the local church. This fact is the key factor in distinguishing between men who are called to serve as elders as opposed to deacons. The elder must be "able to teach" (1 Tim. 3:2). Rinne makes it clear that this teaching ministry is not limited to the public preaching of God's Word. It may include biblical counseling, one-on-one discipleship, classroom instruction, or small group gatherings. The important take-away is that a qualified elder is able to teach God's Word - which means he also has a good handle on God's Word.
Additionally, elders are called to protect the doctrinal sideboards of a church family: "He must play both doctrinal offense and defense, 'holding to the faithful message as taught, so that he will be able both to encourage with sound teaching and to refute those who contradict it" (Titus 1:9).
Elders are to pay attention to the flock and hold God's people accountable to their faith commitment as well as their membership commitment. They are charged with watching over the straying sheep. The author notes five kinds of straying sheep which include sinning sheep, wandering sheep, limping sheep, fighting sheep, and biting sheep.
Elders must be humble men. Rinne adds, "The simplest and most effective thing a church can do is to develop an intentional process for screening potential elders, and then be sure to select humble men." Men must serve in plurality. There is no hint of a lone ranger eldership in the New Testament. The author rightly notes that elders always serve as a team - in plurality.
Church Elders by Jeramie Rinne is a terrific introduction to the subject of biblical eldership. Readers interested in a more comprehensive treatment may turn to Thabiti Anyabwile's work, Finding Faithful Elders and Deacons. For the best survey of this subject, I commend Biblical Eldership by Alexander Strauch.
This is just the little book on eldership that the evangelical Church needs. For years, I have searched high and low for an accessible book that introduces biblical eldership which doesn’t devolve into either a technical treatise on ecclesiology nor a how-to manual that relies on debatable insights from the world of secular organizational theory. And here it finally is!
Rinne successfully avoids secondary polity and pragmatic questions while staying strongly theological and practical on both what an elder is and does. Need proof? Check out these chapter titles which edify all by themselves: “Smell Like Sheep,” “Serve Up the Word,” “Track Down the Strays,” “Lead Without Lording,” “Shepherd Together,” “Model Maturity.”
Church Elders does a good job of neither glorifying the position nor denigrating the work of an elder. Rinne writes as a vocational pastor but FOR avocational elders. He understands the perspective of a man for whom being an elder is lived out in addition to all of his other responsibilities including a family and a full-time job.
Rinne packs a lot into these 122 short pages, but it feels like just the right amount. His illustrations are concise but revealing and helpful. His prose is conversational and carries the reader along but isn’t trite, sentimental, or sappy. If I could write a book on church elders, I would want it to be just like this one. I’ll be asking all of our elders to read it and include it in all future elder training.
I truly believe that the CEO-and-board-of-directors model of church leadership is adversely impacting everything else in the life of our local churches. If we don't care about biblical direction in the way we structure the leadership of our churches, why should we expect the rest of our church membership to consider living their lives as though the Bible is relevant, much less authoritative?
Well written and brief, but also timely and extremely important. I truly wish it were required reading for every "elder board" and every paid professional pastor.
What if church leadership would begin to search the scriptures, rather than the business world, to see how church leadership should lead? If God has His way with church leadership, watch Him revive whole congregations, one after the next. But are we willing to give God the reins? Do we trust Him or don't we?